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MARIJUANA MOMENT

Congressman from Pa. says he plans to try marijuana regardless of legal status

Cannabis buds at New Family Farm in Sebastopol, California, in October.
Cannabis buds at New Family Farm in Sebastopol, California, in October.(Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Marijuana Moment is a wire service assembled by Tom Angell, a marijuana legalization activist and journalist covering marijuana reform nationwide. The views expressed by Angell or Marijuana Moment are neither endorsed by the Globe nor do they reflect the Globe’s views on any subject area.

US Representative Bob Brady said he’s interested in giving marijuana a try, whether or not it is legal.

The congressman reportedly made the comment during a wide-ranging interview with Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Claudia Vargas, who profiled Brady as he prepares to retire from Congress next month after two decades of service.

“He is curious about marijuana, which he says he has never smoked before but wants to try,” Vargas tweeted. “Is it legal now, he asked? He’s planning to try it either way, he said.”

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Cannabis is not yet fully legal in Pennsylvania, though the state does have a medical marijuana system in place. And Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently suggested that state lawmakers should seriously consider adult-use legalization after previously saying the time wasn’t right to end prohibition.

Of course, marijuana remains strictly prohibited under federal law, as Brady presumably knows from having voted for various cannabis-related reform amendments during his time in the House. That includes a measure that prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to interfere in state-legal medical marijuana activity.

While Brady also voted in favor of a broader unsuccessful floor amendment that would have protected all state marijuana laws — including those that allow recreational use — from federal intervention, he has only proactively signed his name onto one standalone cannabis reform bill during his 20 years in Congress. That legislation, which he cosponsored earlier this year, focuses on protecting banks that work with marijuana businesses.

The congressman expressed frustration last year after the state granted a series of marijuana cultivation permits but declined to extend one to any businesses in the jurisdiction he represents. One Philadelphia-based company that had applied for a permit was run by a group of investors represented by the congressman’s longtime aide, Ken Smukler, who was recently convicted of multiple campaign finance crimes.

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If the congressman does decide to partake, he could always reach out to Washington Governor Jay Inslee for some of what he claims is the best cannabis in the country.

Read the story on Marijuana Moment.